First, there was a stark difference between how much managers appreciated employees and how appreciated employees felt. We speculate that the illusion of transparency, or people’s tendency to overestimate how visible their emotions are to others, explains this: Managers incorrectly assumed employees knew how they felt about them.
Second, many managers reported that communicating appreciation seemed really complicated. Some had trouble balancing it with developmental feedback and feared sending mixed messages to employees. Some were concerned that their efforts to offer appreciation to all employees would be routinized and seen as impersonal and meaningless. Employees, on the other hand, did not see this as a complex task and quickly and clearly articulated the precise ways managers could effectively express appreciation. Here’s what they told us managers needed to do:
1. Touch base early and often. While regularly taking time to say hello to employees and check in with them might seem like an unnecessary drain on your productivity, these interactions are actually valuable points of connection for your employees (and for you). They prevent your staff from feeling invisible. One of the employees in our focus groups told us that simply hearing “Good morning” or “How are you?” from his department manager would have been as meaningful as formal recognition. If you create routines that allow your employees to share stories with you about what they’re doing or working on, you can make them feel “known” by you – and stay in the loop on what’s happening within your organization.
In our discussions they reported time and again that receiving feedback – positive and developmental – was one of the key things that made them feel valued
2. Employees want to know both what they’re doing well and where they can improve. Continue reading Our discussions surfaced notable gaps between managers’ and employees’ perceptions